Space raceSome people buy a lakehouse when they retire – some, apparently, go to space. The world’s billionaires are in a space race of their own, and Virgin Galactic reaps the rewards this week with a price jump of 18%.
It’s the battle of the billionaires and Richard Branson’s baby, Virgin Galactic, is currently on the winning end of a fiery competition between its CEO and Jeff Bezos. Blue Origin founder Bezos announced on Monday that he would be among the first people to go to the edge of space on the company’s new spaceship. Though Branson quickly jumped on the “Congratulations” train, he also promptly warned his followers to “watch this space”.
Things heated up when reports hit that VG was working on a plan that’d put Branson aboard the very next rocket: due to take flight on the 4th of July weekend. Blue Origin is due to take off on July 20, so at the moment it’s looking like Branson might have stolen a march on Bezos. Unless he can hitch a ride to space in the next three weeks...
Who doesn't love a bit of healthy competition?
We have lift-offVirgin Galactic, and its share price, is shooting for the stars. The company ended the week with a sweet 20% increase as its next Spaceflight test finally took place over the weekend.
Virgin Galactic stock shot up with a 15% increase on Thursday as the space tourism company shared that it had completed the maintenance review of its carrier aircraft and would be holding its next spaceflight on Saturday, May 22. The news was received with enthusiasm and investors breathed a sigh of relief, as Virgin Galactic had warned earlier this month that the flight could be further delayed, knocking 20% of its share price.
All of the fuss is to complete development of the company’s SpaceShipTwo system, and there are four test flights left before commercial travel can even begin. After two rescheduled trips, seems like the third time’s a charm, and this time we finally got lift-off on May 22. Two pilots took Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity out on the open air, marking its first successful flight in two years. Richard Branson isn't the only billionaire bouncing into commercial space travel, so he’d better hurry up and get his new baby on its feet – because Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin recently completed its own testflight, and Elon Musks’ SpaceX has already announced its first all-civilian mission to space.
said Richard Branson.
Will we ever see Virgin in space?Virgin Galactic stock falls back to earth after bigger losses than expected in Q1, and there’s still no update on its upcoming spaceflight test.
It doesn’t look like Richard Branson’s space baby is off to the moon anytime soon, and it just posted yet another bad earnings report. The company reported a first quarter loss of $0.55, down from a loss of $1.86 per share the same period last year, and very much missing the mark on estimates, which were looking for a loss per share of $0.27. Its adjusted EBITDA loss was $55.9 million, down slightly from the $63.6 it reported last quarter, but still a disappointement. As with the prior quarter, VG reported a whole $0 in revenue, and as of the end of Q1 only has about $617 million in cash on hand, down from $666 million in Q4 of last year. Shares lost almost 9% in anticipation of the release, and fell a further 7% in after hours trading.
In terms of operations, the space company still hasn’t yet set a target date for its upcoming spaceflight – originally planned for this month. Mike Moses, President of Space Missions (man, that’s some job title) said on Monday’s call with investors that the uncertainty facing its spaceflight test stemmed largely from “a potential wear-and-tear issue” that the company identified last week on the aircraft that carries the spacecraft before launch, the VMS Eve. The part in question was due for maintenance in the Fall, but the aircraft is still being studied to see what action is needed.
Virgin Galactic stock is down 24% year to date, having fallen swiftly from its highs of $60 in February. Losses were accelerated because of continued delays to its test program, along with share sales from Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder Richard Branson, and Cathie Wood’s Space ETF debut. However, the fourth spaceflight test is expected to bring in $2 million in revenue, so hopefully things will be looking up soon.
said CEO Michael Colglazier.
Houston, we have a problem...Virgin Galactic stock plummets almost 10% on news that its rival, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin (oh, we do love a billionaire throwdown), will be making its first human test flight in July. Bet Branson’s glad he got rid of all that stock last month.
It's the Space Race 2.0, except this time it’s two tycoons racing it out to the moon – and it looks like Bezos might be winning. His rocket company, Blue Origin, announced on Wednesday that it’s aiming to do its first suborbital sightseeing trip on the New Shepard spacecraft – a landmark moment in the competition to usher in a new era of private (and, at a guess, highly lucrative) commercial space travel. The company also announced the auction of one seat on the trip, and prices are already going stratospheric – expected to reach up to $500k (and cheap at the price – just think of the Insta pics!)
Shares of Virgin Galactic originally gained slightly as people clicked that if Origin Blue could make half a mill on a seat, Virgin probably could too. Ka-ching. But eventually, the prospect that Blue Origin could cancel out Virgin Galactic’s first-mover advantage in the space tourism market sank shares by over 4%.
wrote UBS analyst Myles Walton in a note to investors.
Virgin Galactic’s space plane, called SpaceShipTwo (original, huh?) and flown by two pilots, has carried humans to space in test flights before, but has yet to take any paying passengers, making Origin Blue the first. In February, Virgin also decided to postpone a few of SpaceShipTwo’s test flights from February to May, delaying the forecasted launch of its commercial services to 2022. That’s around about the same time most of its competitors are planning to debut commercial space flights, so you can see why investors are kinda worried about the firm falling behind. Even founder Richard Branson seems a little nervous, unloading $150 million in Virgin Galactic stock in April, leaving him with 24% of the stake and sending stocks falling back to earth.
The share price has lost over 19% this year, erasing its earlier gains from February, when it almost doubled to above $60 a share.